Positive

David Wellington. Harper Voyager, $26.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-231537-3

If John Wyndham had written a zombie novel, it might very well have resembled Wellington’s clever apocalyptic thriller, which has a number of parallels to Wyndham’s classic The Day of the Triffids (1951). Nineteen-year-old Finn is part of the so-called second generation, born after a zombie outbreak claimed 99% of the U.S. population. He lives in a Manhattan whose 50,000 inhabitants have been zombie-free for the past 15 years. When his mother’s latent zombie-virus infection is triggered, Finn is tattooed with the symbol indicating that he is a potential carrier. That status exiles him from the city, but the expected next step—transport to a government medical center for “positives”—is thwarted when his escort is murdered. Finn struggles to survive in a world where humans are as much a threat as the walking dead. Finn’s personal growth is plausible as he grapples with the ethics of survival, and the story displays an imagination familiar to fans of Wellington’s Chimera. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh. (May)